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Iconic Philly Food at Made in America Music Festival

Iconic Philly Food at Made in America Music Festival

Cheesesteaks and water ice were among the most popular items at this weekend’s music festival

Jane Bruce

Wild Bill's made these custom cups for Made in America.

For the third year, Jay-Z and Live Nation put on Budweiser's Made in America Festival, a two-day musical celebration in the city of brotherly love. This was the first year the festival was thrown in Los Angeles as well as Philadelphia on the same weekend. Headliners Kanye West (at both the LA and Philadelphia festivals) and Kings of Leon played for a sold out crowd at the Ben Franklin Parkway in the heart of Philadelphia. The Neighbourhood, Cherub, City and Colour, J. Cole, The National, and more performed Saturday afternoon. Veterans Spoon played on the appropriately named Rocky stage, located directly in front of the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum, Sunday evening, before being interrupted by a lightning-induced evacuation. After about 30 minutes the storm had passed, and attendees were let back in to see Pharrell, Girl Talk, Tiesto, and Kings of Leon close out the weekend.

The Budweiser-sponsored festival had no shortage of beer. With bars set up throughout the space, plus baseball-game-style vendors strolling through the crowds, you'd be hard pressed not to find a red tall can in everyone's hand. With the temperature creeping high into the 80s, the water vendors became more and more popular as the weekend went on.

As far as refueling, festival-goers chose from an array of Philadelphia culinary classics. Philly cheesesteaks were a good carbo-load when the energy levels started getting low. The hotter it got, the longer the line for water ice, a flavored ice dessert in flavors like cherry and lemon, became. Almost as common as seeing a Budweiser in the crowd was seeing a Federal soft pretzel. Click through our slideshow to see what the Kanye and Pharrell fans were chowing down on between sets.

Beers

Attendees had their choice of various Budweiser products to imbibe at the festival.

Vacationer

The Philly natives opened the festival on Sunday afternoon.

Click here for more photos from the Budweiser Made in America Festival.

Jane Bruce is the Photo Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @janeebruce.


Cuisine Of The Northeastern United States

Long a landing point for immigrants, the New England is a rich cultural stew pot into which new arrivals add their food traditions.

Pilgrim's Progress

When the pilgrims first arrived in the New World, they encountered a culinary landscape full of unfamiliar foods. Of course, the very foods that first confounded the pilgrims--like turkeys, cranberries, and squash--now comprise our most storied national feast, the Thanksgiving dinner.

Rise of the Regional

In the 17th century, Native Americans and English immigrants came into contact along New England&aposs rocky coast. The culinary outcome of their convergence includes the chowders, baked bean casseroles, stews, and succotash dishes that have helped define Northeastern regional cooking. In the 19th century, Irish and Italian immigrants would leave a lasting impression of their own upon the cuisine: New England Boiled Dinner, for example, reflects an Irish influence.

Go Ahead, Bite the Big Apple

Nothing exemplifies the American "melting pot" like New York City. Arriving from far-flung places, immigrants enriched the city with their culinary traditions. Jewish specialties like pastrami and all manner of Italian and Chinese dishes tantalized New Yorkers before gradually being absorbed into the culinary culture of the entire country. Russians, Puerto Ricans, Middle Easterners, Greeks -- the list of those who have added to the flavor of New York City spans the globe, making New York&aposs boroughs a treasure of world cuisines.

Notable Nibbles of the Northeast

In Pennsylvania, Italian immigrants created what would become the famous Philly cheese steak (note: to be truly legit, use Cheez Whiz), while Americans of German descent developed warm comfort foods like chicken pot pie and regional wonders like scrapple, shoofly pie, and the soft pretzel. Up north in Vermont, a formidable Cheddar cheese industry took shape to rival the best farmhouse Cheddars of England. And all across New England, clam shacks also served up a Maine classic: the lobster roll.

For Cod's Sakes

In the 17th century, the waters of the northern Atlantic were said to be so stuffed with cod that a person could bound from boat to boat across their glistening backs. As with the bison of the prairie, the seemingly infinite cod proved all too finite. Though depleted by over-fishing, cod (mostly Pacific cod now) remains a very popular fish nationwide. Oyster, clam, and lobster industries have also thrived in the Northeast.

Now THAT'S Italian-American!

No one has contributed more foods to the American dinner table than Italian immigrants. In the Northeast, strong Italian-American enclaves in New York City, Boston&aposs North End, and South Philly have helped shape a new American hybrid cuisine. Based on Old World traditions, Italian-American cuisine is marked by an enthusiastic appreciation for (and appropriation of) the New World&aposs abundance, which translates into dishes piled high with meat, cheese, and sauce.

Americanizing the Restaurant

The Northeast played a major role in establishing America&aposs restaurant culture. The classic American diner evolved from the horse-drawn lunch wagons of the 1870s. The "takeout" concept got its start with Chinese restaurants in New York City during the 1930s. And on the high end, New York City&aposs Delmonico&aposs, whose doors first opened in the 1820s, set the standard for fine dining in America. Delmonico&aposs chefs are credited with inventing such well-known dishes as Chicken a la King, Eggs Benedict, and Lobster Newberg.

The Beautiful Swimmer

For many food-minded folks, Maryland means one thing: the blue crab. This fast-moving crustacean ("the beautiful swimmer") populates the waters of Chesapeake Bay and features prominently in crab cakes and soups. Often it is simply packed with dry spices and steamed whole in beer. Many crab houses prepare their own spice blends. These spicy seasoning blends were influenced by former slaves of the Caribbean, who brought a taste for island spices when they resettled around the Chesapeake Bay.


Food in the Last Frontier: What to Eat in Alaska

Head to the Last Frontier for salmon, halibut, crab and other locally sourced classics.

Related To:

Photo By: PHOTO: Karthik Cherukuri

All You Can Eat in Alaska

Alaska is rife with exceptional food. Whether meals include fresh-caught king crab or locally grown vegetables, restaurants proudly serve the best of the Last Frontier&rsquos treats. Though most restaurants don&rsquot serve iconic Alaska dishes like akutaq (Eskimo ice cream) or game meat (think moose, caribou and deer), locals still prepare plenty of it. For those just visiting, here are iconic tastes from the northern latitudes.

Illustration by Hello Neighbor Designs

Grilled Salmon

Fish and Chips

Smoked Salmon Chowder

King Crab

Bisques, cakes, rolls, legs, buckets, clusters and combos: Alaskans love their crab. At Tracy'€™s King Crab Shack in Juneau, Bering Sea king crab is the star. Tracy'€™s crab cakes come with a sweet and spicy dipping sauce a bucket holds half of a king crab plus a killer claw. They also boast the "best legs in town."

Wild Berry Cobbler

Maine may get attention for its blueberries, but Alaska'€™s wild version is just as memorable. Right smack in the middle of some of Alaska's most beautiful country is Sheep Mountain Lodge, a must-stop along the Glenn Highway. Fresh-baked goods include cinnamon rolls and rhubarb pie, but if you visit during the fall, you might be lucky enough to taste berry cobbler made with wild Alaska blueberries, hand-picked that morning.


FOOD HISTORY TIMELINE1875 to 1879

1875 E. Bean creates the orange crate. It holds about 200 oranges.

1875 The Bing cherry is developed by a Chinese orchardman in Oregon.

1875 B&M Baked Beans, the world's first canned baked beans, are produced in Portland, Maine.

1875 The first Chinese general store in New York opens at 8 Mott Street.

1875 In Berlin, Ferdinand Tiemann patents a process for making synthetic vanillin, the key flavor ingredient in vanilla beans.

1875 Refrigerated ships carry the first chilled beef from New York to Europe. The following year the first frozen shipment was sent to England.

1875 The first milk chocolate for eating is invented in Switzerland by Nestle. mixing sweetened condensed milk with chocolate.

1875 Grasshopper plagues in the Western U.S. A grasshopper plague in Missouri caused an estimated $15 million in damages.

1875 First commercial feed mill in U.S. was established.

1875 The first agricultural experiment station was established at Middleton, Connecticut.

1875 The first battery-powered dentist’s drill was patented by George F. Green of Kalamazoo, Michigan.

1875 The International Bureau of Weights and Measures was created.

1875 African American inventor A.P. Ashbourne received a patent for a "Process Preparing Coconut for Domestic Use."
1875 African American inventor A. P. Ashbourne was issued U.S. patent No. 170,460 for a biscuit cutter (Improvement in Biscuit-Cutters).

1875 Stephen McCormick died. He was the inventor and manufacturer of a cast iron plow with removable parts.

1875 Pierre Athanase Larousse died (born Oct 23, 1817). French educator and publisher. Published many outstanding reference works including the encyclopedic 15 volume Grand Dictionnaire . In 1938 the Larousse publishing house published an encyclopedia of gastronomy, 'Larousse Gastronomique' edited by Prosper Montagne.

1875 Ferdinand Porsche was born. He was an Austrian engineer who designed the Volkswagon Beetle in 1935.

1875 Asmus J. Ehrrichson was issued the first U.S. patent (No. 170,536) for an oat-crushing (oat-meal) machine.

1875 Samuel Rumph of Georgia developed the Elberta peach.

1875 The 755 room Palace Hotel opened in San Francisco. It was destroyed by the April 18, 1906 earthquake and subsequent fire. It was rebuilt and the 'New' Palace Hotel opened on December 19, 1909.

1875 The NY Dairy Company becomes the first dairy to sell milk in factory made bottles.

1875 Gilpin Moore of Rock Island, Illinois received a patent for a two wheel Sulky-Plow. A riding plow which allowed the driver to sit and plow, and to accurately set the plow depth.

1876 A colony of passenger pigeons covers an area of 23 miles long and more than 3 miles wide in Michigan.

1876 Heinz's Tomato Ketchup is introduced.

1876 Alexander Graham Bell receives U.S. patent No. 174465 for his new invention, the telephone (see March 10, 1876)

1876 The Centennial Exhibition opened in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It was the first official World's Fair in the United States. The fair closed on November 10, 1876.

1876 The Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition closed.

1876 Charles Elmer Hires introduces his new drink, Root Beer, at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

1876 Grasshopper plagues in the Western U.S.

1876 John James Rickard Macleod was born. He shared the 1923 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with Sir Frederick Banting for the discovery of insulin and its role in metabolism of sugar.

1876 Moxie carbonated soft drink was created in Lowell, Massachusetts by Augustin Thompson.

1876 The first world's oldest trademark is the red triangle registered for Bass Pale Ale.(Some sources say 1883 or 1890)

1876 Canned sardines went on sale in the U.S. for the first time. They were packed in oil. (Some sources say 1873).

1876 Foil wrapped bananas are sold for a dime at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. Bananas become a popular treat for the first time in the U.S. when word spreads about how delicious they are. For one thin dime, visitors to Philadelphia’s Centennial Exposition were able to buy foil-wrapped bananas, a popular taste treat in the United States. We tried one as an experiment for lunch today -- and heartily agree! It is especially interesting how the aluminum foil creates a kind of buzzing feeling on your teeth as the banana gets chewed up!

1876 American author, Sherwood Anderson was born. In 1941 Anderson supposedly swallowed a toothpick or a swizzle stick while at a cocktail party in the Panama Canal Zone, and died of peritonitis.

1876 Melville Bissell patented the carpet sweeper.

1876 Alexander Graham Bell's first successful experiment with the telephone. He spoke through the instrument to his assistant, Thomas A. Watson, in the next room. Bell writes, "I then shouted into M [the mouthpiece] the following sentence: 'Mr. Watson--come here--I want to see you.' To my delight he came and declared that he had heard and understood what I said."

1876 Willis Haviland Carrier was born. He invented the first practical air conditioner.

1876 D.C. Stillson patented the Stillson wrench, the first practical pipe wrench. Fixing that leaky pipe in the kitchen became a lot easier.

1876 Kudzu was introduced to the U.S. in 1876, to control soil erosion in the South. Native to China and Japan, it can grow up to 1 foot per day, and virtually takes over telephone poles, trees, buildings, and anything else in it's way. In the U.S. it is known as an uncontrollable weed, sometimes used as cattle forage. In Japan and China, it is also grown for its edible roots, which can reach 7 feet long and weigh 450 pounds. The roots are dried and pulverized into kudzu powder. This kudzu powder is used in cooking to thicken soups and sauces, dredge foods for deep frying, etc. The leaves and stems can be used as in salads.

1876 The 'spreading chestnut tree' from 'The Village Blacksmith' by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, was a real tree in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at the corner of Brattle and Story Streets. It was cut down to widen the streets in 1876.

1876 Charles Elme Francatelli died (born 1805). Italian chef - cheif cook to Queen Victoria. Author of 'The Modern Cook' (1845), ‘A Plain Cookery Book for the Working Classes' (1852).

1876 Acrobat Maria Spelterina walks across Niagara Falls backward on a tightrope, with peach baskets on her feet.

1877 Chester Greenwood was issued the first U.S. patent (No. 188,292) for earmuffs.

1877 Amedeo Obici was born on July 15 (died May 22, 1947). Obici and Mario Peruzzi founded Planters Peanut Company in 1906.

1877 James Drummond Dole was born (died May 20, 1958). The 'Pineapple King' he founded Hawaiian Pineapple Company in 1901, renamed Dole Pineapple Co., later Dole Food Co.

1877 Irma S. Rombauer was born. Author of 'The Joy of Cooking' - one of the most published cookbooks, she originally had to pay to have the book privately published in 1931. Finally in 1936, publisher Bobbs-Merril Co. published the cookbook and it has been in print ever since.

1877 Canada: The first flour mill in Manitoba opens.

1877 Rowland H. Macy died (born Aug 30, 1822). Founder of Macy's department store (Oct 27, 1858).

1877 John Stevens filed a patent application for a grain crushing mill (issued March 23, 1880).

1877 Minnesota's $1.00 per bushel bounty on grasshopper eggs expires. The state had experienced a 4 year grasshopper (locust) plague.

1877 Ole Evinrude was born. He invented the first practical outboard motor in 1909. The idea came to him while rowing a boat to a picnic one day. He decided there must be an easier way to move a small boat on the water.

1877 New York taxes oleomargarine. In 1877, the state of New York passed a law to tax on 'oleomargarine.' When a court voided a ban on margarine in New York, dairy militants turned their attention to Washington, resulting in Congressional passage of the Margarine Act of 1886. The purpose was to protect dairymen and their product, real butter.

1877 Victor Shelford was born. An American zoologist and ecologist, he was one of the first to treat ecology as a separate science. He was active and influential in several ecological organizations, including the Nature Conservancy formed in 1951.

1877 Thomas A. Edison made the first sound recording "Mary had a little lamb"

1877 Dr. Jared Kirtland died. A physician, naturalist, botanist and teacher, he is credited with developing 26 varieties of cherries and six varieties of pears.

1877 Henry Crowell began using the 'Quaker Man' as a trademark at his mill in Ravenna, Ohio.

1877 On April 26 Minnesota held a state day of prayer to plead for an end to a 4 year plague of Rocky Mountain locusts. In southwestern Minnesota, locusts had been eating crops, trees, tobacco, fence posts, leather, dead animals, sheep's wool - everything but the mortgage. Two days later a snowstorm moved through and the locusts were never seen again. No one knows what caused the locust plague, nor why the Rocky Mountain locust became extinct after the plague.

1877 Desert Land Act encouraged development of irrigation in arid lands offered land at 25 cents per acre if irrigated and cultivated for 3 years.

1877 The American Guernsey Cattle Club was founded.

1878 The U.S. stopped minting the 20 cent coin.

1878 Elias Fries died (born Aug 15, 1794). Considered one of the fathers of mycology, he developed the first system used to classify fungi. His 3-volume work, ‘Systema mycologicum’ (1821-32) is still an important source for nomenclature of fungi.

1878 The first telephone directory is issued by the District Telephone Co. in New Haven, Connecticut. It contains 50 names.

1878 Queen Victoria Market ('Vic Market') opened in Melbourne, Australia. A historic open air market spread over two city blocks, selling everything from Australian fruit and vegetables, local and imported gourmet foods, to cosmetics, clothing and souvenirs.

1878
Milking machine invented.

1878 The first commercial telephone exchange in the U.S. was installed in New Haven, Connecticut.

1878 John Wanamaker installed the first electric lighting in an American store. He illuminated his Grand Depot department store in Philadelphia with 28 Brush arc lamps.

1878 In Brooklyn, New York, milk was supposedly delivered to homes in glass bottles for the first time, rather than being ladled from metal cans.

1878 At 7 a.m. May 2, the Washburn A flour mill in Minneapolis exploded, sending the roof 500 feet in the air. 18 workers were killed and seven other flour mills were also destroyed.

1878 Gustavus Swift perfected the refrigerated railroad car.

1878 The first patent for a glass milk container was issued to George Lester.

1878 Ivory Soap was developed by Harley Proctor. Air was whipped into the soap during production, which made it float. First sold in 1879, it was a huge success.

1878 Xavier Marcel Boulestin was born (died Sept 20, 1943). French chef, restaurateur, cookbook author. He was also the first TV chef, appearing on the BBC in 1937-1939 in 'Cook's Night Out'.

1878 The White House hosted the first Easter Egg Roll. Previously, the activities had been held on the Capitol grounds. Congress passed a law banning the practice due to a limited maintenance and landscaping budget (Bah humbug!). President Rutherford B. Hayes was asked if children could hold the activities on the South Lawn of the White House and he enthusiastically agreed. The event has been held there ever since. (www.whitehouse.gov)

1878 Catherine Esther Beecher died. An American educator and author of 'Miss Beecher's Domestic Receipt Book' , etc.

1878 Vaseline petroleum jelly was trademarked by Robert August Chesebrough.

1878 Don Marquis, American journalist and poet was born. He wrote 'archy and mehitabel,' a book of poems written by a cockroach who couldn't use the shift key.

1878 Upton Sinclair was born. His novel, 'The Jungle,' was a horror story about conditions in the meat packing industry of the time. It led to extensive reforms.

1878 Thomas Edison made electricity available for household usage.

1878 The first telephone was installed in the White House in Washington, D.C. Alexander Graham Bell installed it himself. Rutherford B. Hayes was president.

1878 Joseph Henry died (1797). American Scientist. He was the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, where he established a meteorological program which became the foundation of a national weather service.

1879 William K. Vanderbilt acquired 'Gilmore's Garden' in New York City and renamed it 'Madison Square Garden.'

1879 John H. Heinz received a patent for an 'Improvement in Vegetable-Assorters.' ("machines for assorting vegetables, fruits, pickles etc. according to their size").

1879 Congress establishes United States Geological Survey for the "classification of the public lands, and examination of the geological structure, mineral resources, and products of the national domain".

1879 Asa Fitch died (born Feb 24, 1809). American entomologist who studied the relationship of insects to crops and whether they were beneficial or damaging. Knicknamed the 'Bug Catcher of Salem.'

1879 The first official observance of Canadian Thanksgiving holiday. (Now observed on 2nd Monday in October).

1879 Sarah Josepha Hale died. Author, editor (Ladies' Magazine, Godey's Lady's Book). She was influential in having Thanksgiving declared a national holiday. Author of the poem 'Mary Had a Little Lamb' Hale also founded the Seaman's Aid Society in 1833.

1879 Forty Three breweries were operating in the Brooklyn area of New York.

1879 U.S. agricultural exports were about $453 million a year during the 1870s.

1879 Erastus Brigham Bigelow died (born 1814). Inventor of manufacturing machinery for making gingham cloth. The red & white checked tablecloths used in restaurants is a classic example of gingham.

1879 The Hotel Men’s Mutual Benefit Association of United States and Canada was founded by Henry J. Bohn and Col. F. Willis Rice.

1879 Nestle produced its first chocolate bar.

1879 Charles Lavelle Broley was born on Dec 7 (died May 4, 1959). A Canadian banker and ornithologist, he was one of the first to implicate DDT in the declining hatching success of bald eagles, and the environmental dangers of pesticides.

1879 First successful beet sugar factory in the U.S. built in California.

1879 Frank Winfield Woolworth opened his first 'Woolworth's Great Five Cent Store' in Utica, New York.

1879 Agnes Arber was born. She was a British botanist, who wrote 'Herbals: Their Origin and Evolution' (1912) and 'The Gramineae: A Study of Cereal, Bamboo and Grass.'

1879 Saccharin, an artificial sweetener, was discovered by Constantine Fahlberg and Ira Remsen at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. The FDA required warning labels from 1977 to 2000 on products using saccharin because it was a suspected carcinogen. After additional research, the FDA repealed the warning labels and declared saccharin safe for consumption.

1879 Elmer McCollum was born. He was a chemist who discovered vitamins A, B and D.

1879 The Echo Farms Dairy of New York began selling milk in glass bottles, the first in the U.S.

1879 The Cream Separator was patented.

1879 Edward Murray East was born. An American botanist and chemist he helped with the development of hybrid corn. Specifically, he concentrated on controlling the protein and fat content of possible hybrids.

1879 Thomas Edison demonstrated the first commercially practical light bulb at his laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey.

1879 African-American inventor, Thomas Elkins received a patent for a refrigerating machine, which could be used to cool food (or even human corpses according to the patent application).

1879 James and John Ritty invented the first cash register. They came up with the idea to prevent bartenders from stealing at the Pony House restaurant in Dayton, Ohio.

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10 Iconic Foods of New York City, and Where To Find Them

Hotbed of culinary fusion, NYC is not only a repository of cuisines from around the globe, but the place where many important dishes originated, if not by pure invention, then as uniquely compelling adaptations of things that flew in from elsewhere. Here are the city’s most important, and best-tasting, gastronomic inventions.

10. Cheesecake — This creamy, calorific dessert has been made in America since colonial times — in fact, Martha Washington recorded three cheesecake recipes in her personal cookbook — but these were usually whipped up with fresh curds, something like Italian cheesecake. The invention of the Jewish style of cheesecake depended upon two factors — the discovery of cream cheese (which occurred in the Catskills sometime in the 1870s it later, rather absurdly, became associated with Philadelphia), and the presence of Jewish immigrants in New York City. Founded in 1950 in Downtown Brooklyn, Junior’s quickly became a famous purveyor of cheesecakes, and theirs remains the best. Junior’s, 386 Flatbush Avenue Extension, Brooklyn, 718-852-5257

9. Lobster Newberg — Ship’s captain Ben Wenberg brought a recipe for cooking lobster he’d supposedly discovered on one of his voyages to Delmonico’s in 1876, and showed it to owner Charles Delmonico. It was immediately incorporated into the menu as Lobster Wenberg, but when the proprietor and captain got into a fistfight later in the year, Delmonico changed the name of the dish to Lobster Newberg by reversing the first three letters of Wenberg (the dish is now often misspelled “Newburg”). This luscious concoction features multiple crustaceans swimming in cream, cognac, sherry, and cayenne pepper — which may indicate where Wenberg had been sailing to when he discovered the recipe (New Orleans). Delmonico’s, 56 Beaver Street, 212-509-1144

8. General Tso’s Chicken — OK, this dish frequently sucks, but you can’t deny its astonishing influence. The stir-fry of breaded chicken tidbits mired in a thick sweet sauce with a few extraneous toasted chilies is the most famous Chinese dish to have been invented in this country. It was named after 19th-century military strategist General Tso Tsung-tang, who, like Chairman Mao, was associated with the province of Hunan. The dish was first mentioned in The New York Times in 1977, and appears to have been formulated by chef Peng Jia at Peng’s, an upscale Midtown Chinese restaurant typical of the time, but he may have been inspired by an earlier dish called General Chin’s chicken that had appeared in the late ’60s during a Hunan craze in New York City. Chinese Musician, 151 Greenpoint Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-383-2413

General Chin’s chicken may have been the forerunner of General Tso, seen here as made at the Cottage (33 Irving Place, 212-505-8600).

7. Eggs Benedict — This epic dish has defined brunch for many decades, an agglomeration of poached ova and Canadian bacon on an English muffin splooged with a very French hollandaise sauce (only in New York!). It was the creation of the legendary Oscar of the Waldorf — who also invented the velvet rope as a crow control device — and first served at the Waldorf Hotel in the 1890s, supposedly with a shaved truffle on top. Since the hollandaise is often the iffiest part of the concoction, I recommend going to a French restaurant to enjoy the dish — or somewhere where the sauce is not just curdled yellow goo. Tartine, 253 West 11th Street, 212-229-2611

6. Fried Chicken and Waffles — What seems like an irrational juxtaposition of two venerable dishes (African-American bird, Dutch pastry) is actually quintessentially New Yawk. It was invented in Harlem at Wells’ Restaurant in the 1940s. Apparently, the jazz club and restaurants was busiest at 2 a.m., when the choice of whether to eat late supper or early breakfast was resolved by this combination, which makes complete sense only at that hour. But the appeal of the dish continues even though Wells’ is long gone, a brilliant marriage of sweet and savory. The biggest problem today is the waffles, which are often made from an artificially flavored mix. Stray fact: Thomas Jefferson may have brought the first waffle iron to the United States from Europe in the 1790s. Doug E.’s Fresh Chicken and Waffles, 2245 Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard, 212-368-4371

5. Manhattan Clam Chowder — The original name for Manhattan Clam Chowder was apparently Coney Island Clam Chowder, and it appears to be an Italian-American invention. Go to the sainted Randazzo’s in Sheepshead Bay and it certainly seems so, the rich red broth rife with rubbery but flavorful bivalves in an entirely Sicilian sort of way. But sample the product at the Grand Central Oyster Bar and it tastes positively Creole, with its minced onions and green peppers. You really don’t have to choose you can eat it both places. Randazzo’s Clam Bar, 2017 Emmons Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-615-0010 Oyster Bar, Grand Central, 89 East 42nd Street, 212-490-6650

Once there were a dozen clam bars in Sheepshead Bay now there’s only one.

4. Hamburger — The first hamburgers were reportedly served along the city’s Lower West Side docks in the 1820s to German sailors homesick for the port they came from — Hamburg, on the North Sea. These ground-meat pucks (it is not recorded whether they were first made with beef or pork) were served naked, but at some point in the years that followed, a bun was applied, making the hamburger as we know it an American phenomenon. In fact, when I first arrived in the city, old-timers still referred to them as “hamburgs” — and you can still hear that term today. We live in an explosion of hamburger love, so I’ve chosen an old-fashioned one to showcase: no brisket, foie gras, brioche bun, or exotic cheeses. JG Melon, 1291 Third Avenue, 212-744-0585

3. Pastrami and Corned Beef Sandwich — Those who arrive in New York City for the first time are often happily directed to Katz’s Deli, founded in 1888 and dating to the German (and German-Jewish) heyday of the Lower East Side. The multiplicity of beef brisket presentations is amazing in itself, but load up a sandwich of smoky pastrami and briny brisket on rye or a club roll and experience cured-meat nirvana. The pickles are free (choose a combo of half-sour, sour, and pickled green tomatoes), and you don’t need anything else except for a can of Cel-Ray soda. (That means skip the limp, greasy fries. Believe me, you don’t need the calories.) Katz’s Deli, 205 East Houston Street, 212-254-2246

2. Coal-Oven Pizza — New Yorkers have been inundated with pretentious pizza parlors that trace their pedigree to Naples (if you’re ever visited, it looks an awful lot like Brooklyn). But the pizza as we and the world know it and love it — the lush, multi-person, shareable pie — was invented in New York at Lombardi’s. Go to one of the city’s original coal-oven parlors (Patsy’s, John’s, Totonno Pizzeria Napolitano) to experience the Gotham invention in all its glory. The 200 degrees hotter these ovens burn when compared with wood makes a big difference in the texture of the crust. Don’t, whatever you do, go to the franchise locations spun off by any of these places — the product is inferior in every way. John’s Pizzeria, 278 Bleecker Street, 212-243-1680

The coal-oven pie at John’s, with sausage that comes from Faicco’s, just down Bleecker Street

1. Hot Dog — The hot dog arrived in Coney Island from either Vienna (hence, wiener) or Frankfurt (hence, frankfurter), and immediately caught on. Sold from carts, and later a storefront, by Feltman’s German Gardens, the all-beef “tube steak,” as it was facetiously called, went from popular to wildly popular when Polish-Jewish immigrant and Feltman’s employee Nathan Handwerker took the hot dog in hand and popularized it to the world. In the modern era — and partly due to hard times — the weiner has become more desirable than ever, with Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest at the center of its contemporary popularity. The natural-skinned, all-beef frank is still the city standard, while most of the country suffers through inferior, puffy, mystery-meat “ballpark” franks pulled from the refrigerator case of the supermarket. Miraculously, you can still get them whence they first disembarked. Nathan’s Famous, 1310 Surf Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-946-2705


In India, carnival has been celebrated in the state of Goa since the 18th century, and is one of their most famous celebrations. For a homemade Goan-inspired party dish, try Jamie’s fantastic fish tikka curry with fluffy white rice.

This perfumed and delicious fish curry with fluffy rice is bound to be a family favourite


FOOD HISTORY TIMELINE2001 to 2005

2001 William Hewlett died. Founder with David Packard of Hewlett Packard Company. Before they became famous for computers and printers etc., some of their early inventions were an automatic urinal flusher and a weight loss shock machine!

2001 General Mills acquires Pillsbury Co.

2001 U.S. 1st class postage rates raised to 34 cents.

2001 The first suspected case of foot-and-mouth disease is detected in Essex. The disease ravages livestock in Britain in the worst epidemic since 1967. By March it has spread to mainland Europe. Millions of animals are destroyed.

2001 The European Commission bans all British milk, meat and livestock exports following an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the U.K.

2001 Twenty-five new cases of foot-and-mouth disease were confirmed in the Britain, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 163.

2001 The Eden Project officially opens in Cornwall, England. Its numerous Biomes are the biggest conservatories in the world.

2001 The movie 'Swordfish' opened in U.S. theatres.

2001 The movie 'American Pie 2' opened in U.S. theatres.

2001 Italy's famous Leaning Tower of Pisa was reopened to the public after almost 12 years of corrective reconstruction and stabilization efforts. It was declared stable for at least another 200 years.

2001 The National Guard was called up out help Buffalo, New York dig out from a five-day storm that dropped almost 7 feet of snow.

2001 Norway lifted a ban on exports of whale meat.

2001 The movies 'Sugar and Spice' and 'The Wedding Planner' debuted in U.S. theaters.

2001 Germany announced plans to destroy 400,000 cattle due to the mad cow crises. The European Union estimates that up to 2 million cattle will be destroyed in EU countries by the end of June.

2001 Polyphenolic compounds found in blueberries and cranberries shown to guard against vascular diseases and age-related memory losses.

2001 The first case of mad-cow disease in Asian animals was reported in a dairy cow in Japan.

2001 The American submarine USS Greenville accidentally strikes and sinks a Japanese fishing & high school training ship, the Ehime-Maru. Nine crew members of the Ehime Maru and 4 high school students were drowned. The submarine was practicing an emergency rapid surfacing maneuver at the time.

2001 Coca Cola signs a sponsorship deal with Christina Aguilera.

2001 A 440 pound bluefin tuna sold for $173,600 in the Japanese Tsukiji fish market - that’s about $394 per pound!

2001 First piglet cloned, by ARS scientists and colleagues at the Roslin Institute in Scotland.

2001 China reported that its population is now 1.26 Billion.

2001 Maryland banned the farming of genetically modified fish in any waters linked to other bodies of water.

2001 Hindus in Seattle filled suit against McDonald's restaurant chain for not disclosing the use of beef flavoring in its French Fries.

2001 Hong Kong ordered more than 1 million chickens and other poultry killed to halt the spread of another bird flu epidemic.

2001 'Lady Marmalade' by Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Mya & Pink (from the movie Moulin Rouge) hit #1 on the charts.

2001 Actor Jack Lemmon died. A couple of his film titles: 'The Fortune Cookie,' 'Days of Wine and Roses.'

2001 In Oslo, Crown Prince Haakon of Norway married former waitress Mette-Marit.

2001 Flat Iron Steak introduced after research on undervalued cuts of beef finds new ways to cut the steaks from the chuck.

2001 Justin Wilson, Cajun chef and humorist died. He wrote five cookbooks, hosted several cooking shows on TV, including 'Louisiana Cookin' and 'Cookin' Cajun.'

2001 The first case of mad-cow disease in Asian animals was reported in a dairy cow in Japan.

2001 World Trade Center and Pentagon Terrorist Attack. Among those who perished in this heinous crime were many food workers who worked in the restaurants of the 2 Towers.

2001 It was reported that the remains of a crocodile that lived 110 million years ago was found in Niger. It could grow up to 40 feet long and weigh more than 8 tons! (Too bad today's poachers couldn't run into that!)

2001 In April, 2001, Italian astronaut Umberto Guidoni and Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield brought some luxury food items with them to the International Space Station, Regiano Parmesan cheese and Canadian salmon.

2001 Facing an electricity crisis, California Governor Davis declared a state of emergency. Hundreds of thousands of California residents experienced rolling power blackouts. The energy crisis was caused by market manipulations, drought and new power plant delays.

2001 The World Trade Organization approved China's membership.

2002 With no outbreaks for more than 3 months, the UK is declared free of foot-and-mouth disease. Since the disease was first discovered on February 19, 2001, six-and-a-half million animals have been slaughtered, most of them sheep.

2002 U.S. first class postage rates were raised to 37 cents and post cards to 23 cents.

2002 The Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington DC put the kitchen of legendary cook Julia Child on display. Child had donated the kitchen from her Cambridge home of 32 years, and it had been disassembled and moved to the Smithsonian.

2002 Elizabeth Coblentz died (born July 18, 1936). Syndicated Amish cooking columnist and cookbook author (‘The Amish Cook’, ‘The Amish Cook Cookbook’, ‘An Amish Christmas’, etc.).

2002 Cuban officials announced that the country had struck deals to buy more than $66 million in American food at a historic agribusiness show.

2002 The animated 'Jonah: A Veggie Tales Movie' opened in U.S. theatres.

2002 'The Ketchup Song' by Spanish girl group Las Ketchup was number 1 in the UK and many other countries.

2002 Alfred Heineken died. Grandson of Gerard Adriaan Heineken, the founder of Heineken Brewery. Alfred was president of the company from 1964 to 1989.

2002 'Euro' coins and banknotes went into circulation, the new monetary unit of the European Union.

2002 The world's oldest man died at at the age of 112. An Italian shepherd, his secret to long life was "Just love your brother and drink a good glass of red wine every day."

2002 A new record for largest peanut butter and jelly sandwich was set in Oklahoma. 350 pounds of peanut butter and 144 pounds of jelly. (see Peanut Butter and Jelly Trivia for details)

2002 Dave Thomas founder of Wendy's Hamburger chain died.

2002 U.S. President George W. Bush fainted after choking on a pretzel while watching a football game on TV in the White House.

2002 New regulations to go into effect this year require German pig farmers to spend at least 20 seconds every day with each pig, 10 seconds in the morning and 10 seconds in the afternoon. I do not know about what regulations there might be for spending time with German cows, sheep, chickens and other farm animals.

2002 McDonald's announced in a press release that it has agreed to pay 10 million dollars to Hindu and vegetarian groups to settle lawsuits over its use of beef flavoring in its French Fries.

2002 Joseph Bonanno, a former Mafia boss known as 'Joe Bananas,' died in Tucson, Arizona at age 97.

2002 ARS Genetically engineered a tomato to boost its levels of good-for-the-body lycopene. This is the first food to be nutritionally improved with the help of biotechnology.

2002 Esther Pauline Friedman Lederer died. She wrote the 'Ann Landers' advice column. Her twin sister Pauline Esther, under the pen name Abigail Van Buren, wrote the 'Dear Abby' advice column.

2002 A jury awarded $120 million to 17 bakery workers who sued Interstate Brands for racial discrimination.

2002 Spaniards threw 120 tons of tomatoes at each other at the annual Tomatina festival in Bunol, Spain. The annual tomato fight is the biggest food fight in the world. It has been a tradition since 1945 when a group of youngsters engaged in a spontaneous tomato fight in the town square.

2002 William Rosenberg founder of Dunkin' Donuts died (born June 10, 1916). (The Dunkin' Donuts website lists his date of death as Sept 22, but numerous newspapers and others list Sept 20).

2002 Verne H. Winchell died. Founder of Winchell's Donuts in 1948 known as 'The Donut King.'

2002 Ruth Handler died. Creator of the Barbie Doll (1959) and co-founder of the Mattel company in 1942.

2003 Dolly the sheep died. Dolly was the first animal cloned from an adult animal. (born 1996)

2003 The last commercial flight of the British Airways supersonic Concorde airliner left New York at 7:30 am local time for Heathrow airport in London. A special champagne breakfast was served which included Smoked Scottish Salmon with Caviar and Lobster Cakes with Bloody Mary Relish and Wilted Spinach.

2003 U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona called obesity the fastest growing cause of illness and death in America today.

2003 The first cloned mule was born at the University of Idaho. It was named 'Idaho Gem'

2003 The Concorde supersonic airliner made its final scheduled flight from Paris to New York as Air France took the Concords out of service. On May 31 the Concorde made its last return trip to France.

2003 The Concorde supersonic airliner made its final scheduled return trip from New York to Paris as Air France took the Concords out of service.

2003 Martha Stewart stepped down as head of her media empire hours after being charged with conspiracy, securities fraud etc.

2003 A major outage knocked out power across the eastern United States and parts of Canada. 50 million people lost power.

2003 After a 14 year moratorium, Iceland resumed whale hunting for Minke whales, in the name of scientific research.'

2003 The world's largest battery was connected to provide emergency power in Fairbanks, Alaska. The $35 million rechargable battery weighs 1,300 tonnes and in the event of a blackout, it can provide 40 megawatts of power for up to 7 minutes, while backup generators are being started. Total city blackouts occur every 2 or 3 years due to the extreme weather conditions.
2003Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger was sworn in as governor of California.

2003 Canada institutes a partial ban on imported beef from the US, due to a case of mad cow disease (BSE) in a Canadian-born Holstein cow, slaughtered in Washington state.

2003 The U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned the dietary supplement ephedra after more than 150 deaths and thousands of adverse reaction had been reported.

2003 The USDA announced the first suspected case of 'mad cow' disease (Bovine spongiform encephalopathy or BSE) in the U.S.

2003 Canada announced the closure of what remained of the cod fishery in Newfoundland, the Maritime provinces and Quebec due to depleted stocks of cod.

2003 The first cloned horse was born in a natural delivery. Cloned horses are currently banned from racing

2003 The USDA declared that frozen, batter coated french fries are fresh vegetables. A federal judge upheld the rule in June, 2004, declaring that the term "fresh vegetables" was ambiguous. In 1981 the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) had unsuccessfully tried to classify ketchup and pickle relish as vegetables. Public protest caused them to drop the idea.

2003 Richard Pough died. An American ecologist he was the founding president of the Nature Conservancy and helped found the World Wildlife Fund. In 1945, he was one of the first to warn about the dangers of DDT to fish and birds.

2003 Sunbutter, a sunflower seed spread and peanut butter alternative is made available to the public.

2003 Actor Gordon Jump died. The 'Matag Repairman' in commercials, also Arthur Carlson on 'WKRP in Cincinnati'

2003 The FDA banned the use of 'downer' cattle from the human food supply.`

2003 Kemmons Wilson died. Founder of Holiday Inn hotel chain, the first standardized hotel chain.

2003 Brazil passed the U.S. as the world's largest exporter of beef.

2003 Brazil has 175 million cattle, the U.S. 105 million.

2003 A peanut variety discovered lacking a major allergen. Peanut allergies, which can be fatal, affect over 1.5 million Americans.

2003 Found that barley is as effective as oats in reducing serum cholesterol, which resulted in an FDA-approved health claim.

2003 Tests confirm the first case of BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy - mad cow disease) in the U.S.

2003 The hottest day ever in Britain. Faversham, Kent recorded the highest temperature to date of 101.3°F (38.5°C).

2003 Bernard Loiseau died. French chef, owner of La Cote d'Or in Saulier, a Michelin three-star recipient. He committed suicide, supposedly in response to reports that his restaurant might lose one of its 3 stars.

2004 The Salvation Army announced it will be receiving a $1.5 billion donation from the estate of Joan B. Kroc, widow of Ray Kroc the founder of McDonald's restaurants.

2004 Martha Stewart resigned from the board of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia 10 days after her conviction in a stock scandal.

2004 The Republic of Ireland becomes the first country to ban smoking in all enclosed workplaces, including bars and restaurants.

2004 British Columbia, Canada orders the slaughter of 19 million poultry due to avian influenza (bird flu).

2004 Robert Davies caught a 9 foot, 264 pound sturgeon in Swansea Bay off the Welsh coast. Sturgeon are rarely seen in UK waters. The fish was eventually donated to the Natural History Museum in London.

2004 Bacardi agrees to acquire Grey Goose Vodka.
2004The last elevated train in Boston made its final run

2004 An Estonian couple won the world wife-carrying championships in the remote village of Sonkajarvi in Finland. The prize includes the wife's weight in beer and a portable sauna.

2004 Weighing in at 416 pounds, Giovanna Guidoni became Italy’s 16th Miss Cicciona (Miss Chubby) in Forcoli, Italy. Contestants must weigh more than 220 pounds to enter the contest.

2004 'The Cookout,' a movie about an out of control backyard barbecue opened in U.S. theatres.

2004 Belgian brewer Interbrew merged with Brazilian brewer Ambev to form InBev, the world's largest brewer by volume. (See also July 13, 2008)

2004 A farmer in Ontario, Canada shows a record 1,446 pound pumpkin. (new records have since been grown).

2004 Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reported to prison to begin serving a sentence for lying about a well timed stock sale.

2004 Martha Stewart, business magnate, cookbook author and TV personality, was convicted of obstructing justice and lying about a well timed stock sale just before the priced plummeted.

2004 The movie 'Christmas with the Kranks' opened in U.S. theatres.

2004 The first Starbucks coffee shop in France opened on Jan 16.

2004 Harrison McCain died. 'King of the French Fry,' co-founder (with 3 brothers) of McCain Foods in 1957 in New Brunswick, Canada. The company produces 1/3 of the world's french fries.

2004 Al Lapin Jr. died. Entrepreneur and restaurateur, co-founder with his brother Jerry of International House of Pancakes in 1958 in Toluca Lake, California.

2004 Jeff Smith died. TV's 'Frugal Gourmet' and cookbook author.

2004 A 60 ton, 56 foot long sperm whale exploded on a busy street in Tainan, Taiwan. A buildup of gas from internal decay caused the explosion. Researchers were taking the whale by truck to the National Cheng Kung University for a necropsy. The whale had beached itself and died on January 17. No one was injured in the explosion, but blood and entrails showered cars and shops, and traffic was held up for several hours while the mess was cleaned up.

2004 British actress Dana Broccoli died. Widow of Albert Broccoli, producer of the 'James Bond' movies

2004 The world's largest Ocean Liner, RMS Queen Mary 2, was christened.

2004 Tens of millions of pounds of almonds were recalled by one of the world's largest almond producers, located in California due to a salmonella outbreak. At least 25 people were sickened in states from Alaska to Michigan.

2004 This week a federal judge upheld a rule issued by the USDA on June 2, 2003 which declared that frozen, batter coated french fries are fresh vegetables. The judge stated that the term 'fresh vegetables' was ambiguous. In 1981 the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) had unsuccessfully tried to classify ketchup and pickle relish as vegetables. Public protest caused them to drop the idea.

2004 The City Manager of Key West, Florida fired its Official Chicken Catcher. Armando Parra was hired in January to catch and relocate some of the more than 2,000 'wild' chickens that roam this small island city. They did not feel he would meet his contract quota to relocate 1,000 chickens by September.

2004 Julia Child died 2 days before her 92 birthday. American cooking authority, cookbook author, TV Cooking show host, etc. During World War II, she also worked for the OSS from 1941-1945 (The OSS is the forerunner of the CIA).

2004 William A. MItchell died (born Oct 21, 1911). American food chemist. While working for General Foods Corp. he invented Tang, Pop Rocks, Cool Whip, quick-set Jell-O, powdered egg whites, etc.

2004 It was reported that it rained fish in August at Shropshire, western England.

2004 Sonya Thomas won $500 and a trophy belt at the World Lobster Eating Contest in Kennebunkport, Maine. She ate 9.76 pounds of lobster meat (38 lobsters) in 12 minutes. She also holds the record for hard boiled eggs, and pork & beans (8.4 pounds in 2 minutes 47 seconds). She weighs only 105 pounds.

2004 The French Parliament passed a bill to combat obesity among French youth. The bill bans junk food and soft drink vending machines in French schools, and requires health warnings or an alternate tax on snack food and soft drink commercials. The provisions become effective in September, 2005.

2004 American scientists Richard Axel and Linda Buck were awarded this year's Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine. They received the award for their work on our sense of smell. Axel and Buck discovered genes that are responsible for our ability to recognize thousands of complex odors, and remember them throughout life.

2004 Country Music singer Willie Nelson opened his own restaurant, the Texas Roadhouse Grill, in Austin, Texas.

2004 Parliament voted to ban Fox hunting with dogs in the U.K. effective February 18, 2005.

2004 Ancel Keys died (born Jan 26, 1904). An American nutritionist, he developed the lightweight, nutritious K ration used during WW II. He also identified saturated fats role in causing heart disease.

2004 A massive earthquake near Sumatra caused a tsunami that swept across the Indian Ocean from Indonesia to Africa. It was one of the worst natural disasters in modern history. Over 220,000 died, and millions were left homeless.

2004 California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law a bill that bans the production and sale of foie gras beginning in 2012. (The sales ban was overturned Jan 7, 2015, but not the production ban).

2005 Canada confirms a second case of mad cow disease, just days after the US planned to reopen its border to Canadian beef.

2005 A third case of mad cow disease is discovered in Canada, probably infected from use of banned contaminated feed.

2005 Procter & Gamble announced it agreed to buy Gillette for $57 billion, combining some of the world's best known household brands.

2005 In San Francisco, fire destroyed Fior d' Italia, America's oldest Italian restaurant. It reopened at 2237 Mason Street (see also May 1, 1886).

2005 A ban on Fox Hunting with dogs became effective in England and Wales.

2005 Winn-Dixie supermarket chain filed for bankruptcy reorganization.

2005 Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney declared an economic disaster in Massachusetts, and requested federal aid. A large and rapidly expanding toxic Red Tide algae bloom was crippling the states shellfish industry.

2005 Gaylord Nelson died (born June 4, 1916) Former senator and governor of Wisconsin. He was the founder of Earth Day in 1970, and helped spawn modern environmental activism. (see Earth Day: April 22).

2005 The movie 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' opened in U.S. theatres.

2005 A Coalition of conservation and animal welfare organizations sued the U.S. Navy, alleging harm to whales and dolphins from the use mid-frequency sonar.

2005 Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa declared a national disaster and appealed to the international community for food aid after government estimates showed that 1.2-million people face famine due to drought.

2005 A group of 40 people dressed in Santa Claus costumes rampaged through Auckland, New Zealand, robbing stores and assaulting security guards.

2005 The first Airbus A380, the world's largest commercial jet, was unveiled in Toulouse, France. The A380 passenger amenities can include lounge bars, restaurants, duty free shops, self serve snack bars, beds, and shower spas. Seating capacity averages about 490 with a maximum of 853 seats.

2005 New licensing laws became effective at midnight in England and Wales and more than 1,000 pubs, clubs and supermarkets have been granted 24-hour licenses to sell alcohol.

2005 The M&M's balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade hit a light pole, knocking the light to the street and injuring 2 spectators.

2005 Minnesota has about 79,600 farms, a total of 27.5 million acres.

2005 H. David Dalquist, the creator of the aluminum Bundt Pan in 1950, died in Minnesota at the age of 86.

2005 Thurl Ravenscroft died. Voice actor best known as the voice of 'Tony the Tiger' in Kellogg's Frosted Flakes commercials - "They're grrrreeat!"

2005 Elmer 'Len' Dresslar Jr. died. Voice actor, best known as the booming voice of the Jolly Green Giant in commercials.

2005 On October 25 the European Court of Justice ruled that feta cheese is a traditional Greek product that deserves protection throughout the European Union's 25-nation block. Non-Greek European feta producers will not be allowed to call their product "feta."

2005 Michael Vale died. Actor who portrayed 'Fred the Baker' in Dunkin' Donuts commercials and 'Sam Breakstone' in Kraft Foods' dairy commercials.

2005 Reminiscent of Hitchcocks movie 'The Birds,' on May 18 large black grackles attacked pedestrians in downtown Houston, Texas after a young bird had fallen from its nest.

2005 A herd of buffalo escaped from a farm and wandered around a Baltimore, Maryland suburb disrupting traffic, and shutting down several major highways. Police eventually herded them onto a nearby tennis court.

2005 Loaded Burrito Scare: Clovis, New Mexicao police were called to a middle school when someone saw what appeared to be a weapon being carried in by a student. Police did not find any weapon, but finally an 8th grader realized that what someone had seen was his extra credit commercial advertising project - a 30 inch long steak burrito wrapped in tin foil and a T-Shirt.

2005 Frank Perdue president of Perdue Farms died March 31 (born May 9, 1920). He was the son of the company's founder Arthur Perdue. Perdue is the 3rd largest poultry company in the U.S.

2005 There are about 2.1 million farms in the U.S.

2005 Patience Gray, British cookery writer, died Plats Du Jour (1957), Honey From A Weed (1986)

2005 A 9 foot, 640 pound freshwater catfish was caught by fishermen in northern Thailand on the Mekong River. According to many, this is the largest freshwater fish ever caught.

2005 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Michigan and New York could not prohibit people from buying wine online from out of state wineries. Some 23 other states have similar laws that presumably would also be affected by the ruling.

2005 Governor Jeb Bush signed a bill making the orange the official State Fruit of Florida. The orange blossom and orange juice have been previously declared the official state flower and official state beverage.

2005 The Lucky Pierrot restaurant chain in northern Japan began serving deep fried Whale Burgers, made with minke whale meat. The meat is from whales that Japan kills for "research purposes" and then sells the meat. The International Whaling Commission banned commercial whaling in 1986. Japan has said it will double its annual "research cull" of minke whales to 935 for 2005.

2005 The USDA confirmed today the first domestic case of mad cow disease. The 12 year old cow was born in Texas and spent its whole life on the same ranch.

2005 The animated movie 'Chicken Little' premiered.

2005 Antoine's Restaurant in New Orleans reopens exactly 4 months after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

2005 USDA ARS developed an edible coating to keep sliced apples fresh. Being used by restaurants, stores, and the School Lunch Program.

2005 The U.S. produced 9.9 billion pounds of apples, more than 1/2 were grown in Washington state.

2005 Cristeta Comeford became the first female White House Executive Chef.

2005 The U.S. produced 9.9 billion pounds of apples, more than 1/2 were grown in Washington state.

2005 Cristeta Comeford became the first female White House Executive Chef.

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The 10 Best Summer Festivals in America

Summer is festival season. And while flower crowns and outlandish getups are de rigueur for most of the trending music fests, that’s not our style. Whether you’re into music, movies, food, or beer, multi-day summer festivals give you the chance to get outside and immerse yourself in what you love most.

The Best Adventure Races You Can Sign Up for Right Now

But there are literally hundreds of them across the country, which can be overwhelming to sort through, especially if you’re going to have to shell out significant cash just to get there. To make things easier, these 10 summer festivals are among are the most popular.

For access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more, subscribe on YouTube!


Turkmenistan’s Top 10 Dishes

A distinctive feature of the Turkmen dishes has always been their nutritiousness and simplicity of cook which, however, does not simplify the taste of Turkmen dishes but makes it richer.

Turkmenistan, lying along the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea, with Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to its north and Iran and Afghanistan to its south, may be the least explored of the five Caspian countries, but the country is as rich in culture and cuisine as any of its neighbors. A blend of its nomadic past, ethnic Turkmen majority, and Uzbek, Russian and Tajik minorities, Turkmenistani cuisine is piled high with meat, rice, sour milk products, cereals, vegetables, cheeses and butter made from camel&rsquos milk.

A hallmark of Turkmenistani cooking is preserving the original flavors of the ingredients and not masking them with intense herbs and spices, which had been introduced mostly in the 20th century. A meat-lovers paradise, dishes include lamb, chicken, hares, gazelle, deer, camel, a medium-sized game bird called ptarmigans, and other wild birds. The consumption of horsemeat is prohibited, as horses are revered as sacred animals since ancient times. (The Akhal-Teke, a breed famous for its stunning coat with a metallic look, is the national emblem of Turkmenistan.)

While there are many similarities between meat dishes found in Turkmenistan and those in other Central Asian and Caspian region countries, how the meat is cooked makes all the difference.

Below are top 10 &ldquomust try&rdquo dishes for visitors to Turkmenistan:

Shurpa is one of the most popular Turkmen and Central Asian soups, made from mutton broth and complete with the addition of potatoes and tomatoes. The boiled vegetables are cooked together with fried onions, carrots, flour, bay leaves, salt and pepper. The broth and vegetable mix is served in a bowl, along with boiled mutton and a dollop of sour cream.

Shurpa is one of the most popular Turkmen and Central Asian soups made of mutton broth with potatoes and tomatoes.

9. Dogroma chorba

Dogroma chorba is another meat soup with an amazing taste. Easy to prepare, dogroma chorba is made by boiling mutton, or lamb meat, with the kidneys, heart and lungs, using salt and pepper for seasoning, while throwing in a few tomatoes. Cut into small pieces, the boiled ingredients are mixed together and cooked in their broth. Broken pieces of flatbread and chopped onion round out the dish right before it is served.

Easy to prepare Dogroma chorba made by boiling mutton, kidneys, the heart and lungs with addition salt, pepper and tomatoes.

A very popular and common food in the Turkic countries, shashlyk in Turkmenistan is different from that found in other countries. Skewered pieces of meat, usually lamb, are grilled over an open fire made from haloxylon, a tree-like shrub that grows in the vast Karakum Desert of Turkmenistan and lends its flavor to the meat cooked over it. Shashlyk occupies a distinct place at the Turkmenistani table, so if one is looking for a unique grilled experience, definitely give shashlyk a try!

Very popular and common food in the Turkic countries, shashlyk, is different in Turkmenistan from those of other countries because of its distinctive desert taste thanks to special way of preparing this delicious dish.

There is a saying in Turkmen society: &ldquoBread is the head for everything,&rdquo and chorek reflects this belief. Chorek is Turkmen flat bread made in a tamdyr, a clay oven, which is considered the most sacred place in a home. According to tradition, one never steps on a piece of bread, and chorek should not be cut or carelessly broken with one hand rather it should be broken apart with both hands. Turning a piece of chorek face-down, or throwing it away, is forbidden.

Predominantly Muslim Turkmenistan pursues the traditions of their ancestors giving a special attitude towards the sacred Chorek. “Bread is the head for everything,” have always Turkmen people said, showing their respect for ancient traditions.

Turkmens were historically nomads, and as such devised several ways for preserving meat. Kovurma is meat chopped into small pieces and fried in its animal fat. Kovurma is considered one of the tastiest dishes and could be eaten either hot or cold.

As historically nomads Turkmen people are special connoisseurs of meat dishes they have developed a myriad ways to preserve meat for the future use and one of especially widespread ways is Kovurma, chopped with small pieces meat fried in the fat of the same animal.

Gutap, meaning &ldquohalf-moon,&rdquo is a kind of flatbreads stuffed with beef or lamb and onions. They are cooked in a pan over the stove, and eaten with one&rsquos hands. Similar to Azerbaijani qutab, Turkmen gutab has several variants for the stuffing, including meat, potatoes, spinach or pumpkin.

Turkmen gutap is “half-moon” flatbreads stuffed with beef or lamb and onions, cooked in a pan over the stove and also eaten with hands.

4. Kazanlama

Said to be an ancient dish, kazanlama was traditionally prepared by shepherds in the desert using saxaul, the desert bush that is also used to cook shashlik. Marinated in salt, garlic and paprika, lamb meat is placed directly onto hot coals and covered in a big cauldron, which in turn is buried in slightly wet sand. After about an hour, the juicy and golden-colored chunks of lamb are ready. Kazanlama is not the easiest dish to prepare, but one that is worth the wait!

An ancient Turkmen meat dish, kazanlama, that has traditionally been cooked by shepherds in the desert with using saxaul, a desert bush, which gives the cooked food a peculiar taste, and sand, will not definitely leave meat lovers indifferent.

Manti, in its various forms, can be found across the Turkic world, in countries as far west as Turkey and Azerbaijan (where it is called dushbara), and in Kazakhstan, where it is referred to by the same name. Cooked in a multi-level steamer or pan-fried, manti is a dumpling stuffed with meat, onions, salt and ground black and red pepper. Served with a yogurt sauce or simply with pepper, the pan-fried version tend to have a crispy brown bottom, while the steamed variant are more plump and juicy. Regardless of how you like them, manti have an extraordinarily delicious taste!

An ancient Turkmen meat dish, kazanlama, that has traditionally been cooked by shepherds in the desert with using saxaul, a desert bush, which gives the cooked food a peculiar taste, and sand, will not definitely leave meat lovers indifferent.

If there is one dish on this list that is distinctly Turkmenistani &ndash that is, has no equivalent in the region &ndash it is dograma. The word literally means &ldquoto cut into pieces,&rdquo and has a long history that date back to sacrificial rituals and rites. The dish is normally prepared for special religious holidays and occasions such as Gurbanlyk, a three-day religious holiday that falls on the tenth day of the Islamic month of Zulhijja, where families, friends and neighbors visit each other and share a meal. The cooking process begins with baking multiple flatbreads in a tamdyr, or clay oven, and boiling fresh mutton in a large cauldron until the meat is tender enough to fall off the bone. Bread is then torn into small pieces and mixed with slices of onion and shredded meat, served in a bowl and covered in hot broth.

Especially honored and most traditional dish in Turkmenistan, dograma is an original Turkmen dish that has no alternatives in cuisines of neighboring countries.

1. Pilaf

Pilaf, also called &ldquoash,&rdquo is the jewel in the crown of Turkmenistani cuisine. Similar to that found in the Turkic world, it comes in dozens of varieties, all which consist of two main ingredients: rice and meat. Turkmen prefer using lamb in their pilaf, flavoring the rice mixture with various spices, pepper, onions, thinly-cut vegetables, and sometimes add in fresh or dried fruit. Roasted slices of meat are cooked with chopped onions and carrots, then boiled with the rice until it turns a bright yellow. Pilaf is typically served as the main dish at festive tables, and is traditionally eaten with one&rsquos hands.

Turkmen Pilaf also called as “ash” is the jewel in Turkmen cuisine’s crown with dozens of possible varieties of cooking each of which has two main ingredients: rice and meat.


What to Really Eat on Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo festival in Washington, D.C. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons).

Cinco de Mayo, as celebrated in the United States, shares some similarities to St. Patrick’s Day: a mainstream marketing fiasco that’s evolved out of an authentic celebration of cultural heritage. The typical Cinco de Mayo is a day of eating tacos and drinking margaritas. But, just like you won’t find corned beef and green beer in Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day, you won’t find ground beef tacos, nachos and frozen margaritas in Mexico on Cinco de Mayo.

Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day it celebrates the Mexican victory at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War, which came after Mexico’s independence from Spain, the Mexican-American War and the Mexican Civil War. In our neighbor to the south, the holiday is mainly celebrated in the region of Puebla, and mostly in the state’s capital city of the same name.

But what America’s Cinco de Mayo misses is the traditional food of Mexico, named to the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, a recognition given to only one other cuisine (French). And, nachos with refried beans, cheese wiz and jalapenos is nowhere on the list or in the country. Taco Bell has even tried opening up in Mexico but each time has failed, simply because no one will eat there.

What makes traditional Mexican fare worthy of such a distinction? You won’t find cumin soaked ground beef hard shell tacos topped with iceberg and cheddar. But, you will find lamb barbacoa that has been smoked underground in banana leaves or carnitas topped with queso fresco, pickled onions and homemade salsa verde wrapped in a warm homemade corn tortilla that has been ever so lightly heated on a comal. And Puebla, just so happens to be considered by many, including Rick Bayless and Mark Bittman, as the gastronomic capital of Mexico.

Puebla is not only known for its food, but also for its quaint colorful streets. (Photo courtesy of Flickr user RussBowling).

Before Spanish explorers and immigrants swarmed Mexico, Puebla was already a culinary capital. The sacred town of Cholula known for its great pre-Colombian pyramid was also home to pre-Columbian street food. In this ancient city, vendors would set up outside the pyramid to feed those who came to worship.

After arriving in Puebla, the Spanish settled close to Cholula and created what is known today as the city of Puebla. Religion was a major aspect of Spanish conquest and convents and monasteries were set up across the city. Spanish nuns invented many of Puebla and Mexico’s most cherished dishes in these convents by integrating old world traditions with new world ingredients.

With that history in mind, here are three famous dishes from Puebla to try this Cinco de Mayo.

Mole Poblano is the iconic dish of Puebla. (Photo courtesy of Chantal Martineau).

1) Mole Poblano

Mole Poblano may be the most consumed dish in Puebla for Cinco de Mayo. But, what is mole (accent on the second syllable, as in guacamole)? There are two origin stories to the word mole. The first is that mole is the Spanish translation of the Aztec or Nahuatl word for sauce, mulli. The second is that mole comes from the Spanish word moler, which means to grind. Whichever story you want to believe, mole is a sauce made from ground up ingredients and comes in all colors and consistencies, but the thick dark mole poblano has made its mark on the international gastronomic world.

Legend has it that mole poblano was first created in the kitchen of the Santa Rosa convent in Puebla by Sor Andrea de la Asunción in the late seventeenth century. According to The Theology of Food: Eating and the Eucharist, Sor Andrea de la Asunción is said to have prepared it for don Tomás Antonio de la Cerda y Aragón, the new viceroy of Spain. This dish is the ultimate combination of old and new world ingredients and cooking practices. This sauce can be somewhat daunting by the long laundry list of ingredients that requires various preparations. But, after one taste of this mole, all the roasting and toasting will be worth it.

Chalupas Poblanas are an infamous street food in Puebla. But, they are so popular that you will find them served at the top restaurants. (Photo courtesy of Rebecca Smith Hurd / All About Puebla).

Chalupas, an iconic Poblano street food, have a resemblance to tostadas and are the perfect antojito for any Cinco de Mayo celebration. To put it simply, chalupas are fried thick tortillas topped with salsa, shredded meat, chopped onion and sometimes queso fresco.

There are two versions to the history of chalupas. The first is that it gets its name from baskets. According to All About Puebla,

Chalupas date back to Colonial times, when Spanish settlers spent a good part of their days washing clothes by the Almoloya (San Francisco) River. It’s said that the women carried everything to the river in big baskets made of wood called chalupas, after which they’d rush home and quickly fry up corn tortillas in lard, top them with salsa, shredded beef or pork, and chopped onion – and call it dinner.

The second is that they are named after the Aztec boats (chalupas) used in the ancient city of Tenochtitlan.

Chiles en Nogada is one of the most celebrated dishes in Puebla. (Photo courtesy of Lesley Téllez / The Mija Chronicles).

3) Chiles en Nogada

Chiles en nogada is an iconic dish of Mexico. It is said to have been invented in the convent of Santa Monica for Agustin de Iturbide‘s visit to Puebla in 1821. Agustín de Iturbide was Mexico’s first emperor after Mexico won independence from Spain. He was served chiles en nogada in Puebla while traveling back to Mexico City from Veracruz after signing the Treaty of Cordoba, which gave Mexico its independence.

The dish signifies Mexico’s independence and is made up of the colors of the Mexican flag red, white and green. The flavors are just as colorful as the ingredients. The sweet, savory, picadillo stuffed poblano pepper dipped in egg batter, fried, and topped with a rich walnut sauce, pomegranate seeds and parsley is something you will not regret. Though it is more traditionally made for Mexico’s Independence Day, it is one of Puebla’s most cherished dishes.

About Shaylyn Esposito

Shaylyn Esposito is the lead digital designer and creative strategist for the Smithsonian online publishing group.


Gumbo. Chile con queso. California roll. Spaghetti and meatballs.

The names are as familiar as household brands. Yet how much do you know about these dishes? Based on the names alone, with their roots in other languages and other cultures, each dish sounds like an import. In some ways, they are. But each dish also morphed and adapted to its new environment, transforming into something uniquely American.

Some transformed through industrialization. Another required the ingenuity of chefs willing to break from tradition. One adapted, and continues to adapt, to the dizzying constellation of cultures that is New Orleans. Allow us to explain – and to show you.

Spaghetti and meatballs

Millions of impoverished immigrants from southern Italy poured into the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Their goals were straightforward: to earn more money and improve their standard of living, perhaps even send a little cash home to family. But in the process, they redefined some of the foods from the mother country. They used their newfound purchasing power to fill their tables with large, garlic-heavy plates that native Italians often didn’t recognize – and routinely ridiculed – but that would soon become beloved staples of Italian-American cuisine. Dishes like spaghetti and meatballs.

As small as golf balls and often served on their own, Italian polpettes are the petite forerunners to the hulking meatballs that would become synonymous with the Italian-American table. Formed with beef, veal and/or pork, American meatballs embraced the bounty of the immigrants’ new land. They were a sign of immigrant success as much as a signal of one’s appetite.

Long feared as poisonous, tomatoes weren’t a regular ingredient in Italian sauces until the 19th century, and Neapolitans did not sauce their pastas until about the 1830s. When Italians arrived in America, they relied on a technique for enriching their simple marinaras. They simmered their meatballs in the sauce, which would become a thickened swirl of pureed tomatoes, meat juices and more.

Rarely found together in Italy, the combination of spaghetti and meatballs practically became the definition of Italian-American cuisine in the United States. Why did Italian immigrants begin pairing the two? Restaurants played a sizeable role as they catered to non-Italian diners, including those accustomed to a plate with both a meat and a starch.

A confluence of immigration and industrialization

These Italian immigrants landed in America at the right time. Industrialization, refrigeration and transportation were revolutionizing the production and distribution of many foods, including meats and pastas. Back home, southern Italians may have spent as much as 75 percent of their income on meager provisions. In the United States, they devoted less than a quarter of their wages to food.

“Foods that in Italy were only consumed regularly by the upper classes were in the United States often available to poorer families in what a food historian would call a ‘carnival come true,’ ” wrote Simone Cinotto in “The Italian American Table.”

Poor Italian immigrants who arrived in America would use the bounty of their new land to remake the food of their mother country.

Left : Italian immigrants disembark at Ellis Island in 1900. (SeM/Universal Images Group/Getty Images)

Such Italian-American dishes as spaghetti and meatballs may have been ridiculed at first – and even come under attack by school reformers and health advocates – but by the time of the Great Depression, Americans had embraced the merits of the cuisine. “Nutritionists reversed their earlier opinions, now arguing that pasta was easy to digest and suitable for all tastes,” Cinotto wrote.

Popular culture would soon get into the act, influencing and reflecting how Americans felt about Italian-American dishes. As the Tramp, Charlie Chaplin sat down to a heaping plate of pasta (and confetti streamers) in 1931’s “City Lights.” More than two decades later, Disney’s 1955 film “Lady and the Tramp” used a shared plate of spaghetti and meatballs to, quite literally, bridge the gap between two canines from vastly different worlds. The symbol could not have been lost on Italian Americans.

Simone Cinotto, historian and author of “The Italian American Table”

Forever blurring of the lines

More than a century after Italian immigrants morphed a few staple ingredients into a plate overflowing with spaghetti and meatballs, the dish has become a permanent fixture in American homes and dining rooms. You can even find it in the frozen food aisles at the supermarket or served from a food truck. The chef or manufacturer may not even label it as an Italian-American dish. To many Americans, oblivious of the plate’s history, spaghetti and meatballs is simply Italian, despite the fact that the combination was nurtured into existence right here in America.

Chile con Queso

Mexico doesn’t have the kind of cheesemaking traditions found in France. How could it? Spanish explorers didn’t introduce cattle to Mexico until the 16th century. Still, the country produces excellent cheeses, including queso asadero and queso Chihuahua, both of which can be used in queso fundido (melted cheese) and the northern Mexican version of chile con queso. The latter, including chile verde con queso, is intended to be more of a side dish, “with the cheese enhancing the chiles, much like cheese melted onto cauliflower,” wrote Lisa Fain in her cookbook “Queso!”

Northern Mexico’s chile con queso, in fact, bears little resemblance to the Tex-Mex version across the border. The traditional preparation might include peppers charred and peeled in the kitchen, tomatoes plucked from the garden and cheese produced by a local artisan. By contrast, the common Tex-Mex version can be prepared in a microwave in a matter of minutes, with a block of process yellow cheese and a can of tomatoes and peppers. American manufacturing and marketing, you could argue, is responsible for one of America’s favorite party foods.

Created in 1918 by the Monroe Cheese Company in Monroe, N.Y., Velveeta didn’t enter the American mainstream until it was acquired by Kraft Foods nearly a decade later. Kraft first marketed Velveeta on its nutritional benefits, which is ironic given that, decades later, the U.S. government would inform Kraft that its product does not meet the definition of process cheese food. None of this matters, of course, to chile con queso fans, who rely on Velveeta because of its ability to melt into a smooth goo.

Ro-Tel tomatoes and chiles

Before industrialization, chile con queso was a dish that could be prepared only when chiles and tomatoes were in season. Carl Roettele and his wife helped change that. In 1943, they opened a facility in Elsa, Tex., less than an hour from the Mexico border, where they canned tomatoes and green chiles for customers in the Lone Star State. Certain that few could pronounce his surname, Roettele decided to abbreviate the brand name to Ro-Tel. It would not be his last stroke of genius.

Decades before Roettele opened his plant, German immigrant William F. Gebhardt had developed chili powder, which he began selling in the 1890s. Like Ro-Tel, Eagle Brand Chili Powder allowed cooks to spice cheese sauces without waiting for chile season. Chili powders were used in early versions of Tex-Mex queso, including Mexican rarebit, a spicy take on Welsh rarebit. But the most famous use may have been in Felix’s Queso, a bright orange glop beloved at Felix Mexican Restaurant in Houston before the place closed in 2008. The queso was “thick and oozing with red grease,” wrote Fain. “It looked frightening but was surprisingly fluffy and addictive.”

‘Cover the nation in queso’

Almost from the start, Ro-Tel seemed to grasp how customers would use its product. Since at least 1949, the company has been selling convenience in chile con queso, according to food historian Robert Moss. That was the year Ro-Tel started running newspaper ads promoting its “Spanish Style Cheese Dip and Spread.” It included just two ingredients: Half a can of Ro-Tel tomatoes and green chiles and a half-pound of American-type processed cheese.

Ro-Tel would later join forces with Kraft Foods, the parent of Velveeta, to solidify the relationship between the two products. As the years went by, and ConAgra acquired Ro-Tel in 2002, the partnership would become an unlikely one between two giant food companies that otherwise compete for business.

Before the invention of chili powder in the late 1800s, queso dishes were typically limited to the hot summer months when chile peppers thrived.

Left : A Mexican official examines chili powder at an American factory. (Gebhardt Mexican Foods Company Records/University of Texas at San Antonio Special Collections/Conagra)

Yet the relationship has survived. Several years ago, the companies went on a barnstorming campaign to sell queso outside the primary markets of Texas and the south-central part of the country: Two “queso queens” hopped on a “Quesobago” recreational vehicle to visit football games and grocery stores. The mission? “To cover the nation in queso.” It’s little wonder that, for many Americans, Velveeta and Ro-Tel is queso.

Those Americans do not include Gloria Reyna, co-owner of Matt’s El Rancho in Austin, which offers its own kind of chile con queso convenience.

Gloria Reyna, co-owner of Matt’s El Rancho in Austin

Joe Angel Rico Hernandez, kitchen manager

Border crossings

If Houston’s lack of zoning laws are any indication, Texans have never been fond of restrictions. The same holds true for chile con queso. Countless restaurants have devised their own versions, none more famous than one at Matt’s El Rancho in Austin. This dip was invented in the 1980s when Bob Armstrong, former Texas land commissioner, asked Matt Martinez Jr. to whip him up “something different.” Martinez combined the restaurant’s housemade chile con queso with taco meat and guacamole, and a star was born. The dip has outlived both the chef and the politician. Matt’s El Rancho sells more than 100,000 Bob Armstrong Dips each year, says Reyna – and now delivers nationwide.

It’s a sign that when it comes to convenience, queso knows no borders in America.

California Roll

Tokyo Kaikan in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo may not have been the first sushi restaurant in the United States, but it’s widely considered the place that served the first California roll, the eager-to-please maki roll that eased countless Americans into the then-rarefied world of Japanese sushi.

The year of the roll’s invention is murky, but at least two books peg its introduction to the 1960s, well ahead of a Japanese chef who claims to have created the famous hand roll in the 1970s – in Vancouver. The motivation behind Tokyo Kaikan’s invention is equally mysterious: The owners and chefs have offered differing rationales. But whatever the reason, chefs Ichiro Mashita and Teruo Imaizumi ultimately landed on a maki roll stuffed with avocado, mayonnaise and king crab, a Japanese-American hybrid that would soon become the most recognizable dish in U.S. sushi restaurants.

Mashita and Imaizumi experimented with a number of ingredients – including beef and chicken – to mimic the lushness of fatty tuna, according to author Sasha Issenberg’s book “The Sushi Economy.” But avocados proved the most workable solution. Grown in California, the creamy fruits could be found at a grocery store next to Tokyo Kaikan. The chefs first served slices of raw avocado atop sushi rice, nigiri-style, but “diners were taken aback by the vivid greenness of the topping,” Issenberg wrote.

If Americans in the 1960s were not comfortable eating raw fish, Mashita and Imaizumi found a way around that. Their roll included king crab, a cooked product shipped frozen from Alaska. The pricey shellfish would lend its sweet, mild flavors to the roll without causing squeamishness. Later, when surimi became widely available, sushi counters substituted the cheap processed fish sticks for king crab. The substitution would reduce the cost of the California roll, increasing its popularity even more.

There’s some debate about who was the first to reverse engineer the maki roll and place the nori (the sheets of dried seaweed) on the inside rather than the outside. In his 2006 book, “The United States of Arugula,” author David Kamp writes that Tokyo Kaikan’s chefs claim to have invented the inside-out roll, but Issenberg says it was a later invention. Whoever devised the innovation, it was apparently needed. Issenberg notes that before the change, Americans were removing the outer nori, like the corn husk of a tamal, and eating only the interior.

The gateway dish

A half-century later, it’s still not clear what motivated Tokyo Kaikan to create the California roll. The restaurant’s Tokyo-based owners have claimed they were trying to develop sushi dishes that would appeal to Americans. But chefs Mashita and Imaizumi have said they were merely scrambling for ingredients, either because fatty tuna was available only in the summer or because the quality and variety of fish were so poor back in the 1960s.

One version of the story makes Tokyo Kaikan seem almost visionary. The other makes the California roll sound like a happy accident.

Maki rolls in Japan were often thinner, with less filling than the thick bundle of lush ingredients that would become the California roll.

Left : Japanese factory workers cut rolls of sushi in the 1950s. (Nakada/Three Lions/Getty Images)

“The California roll proved to be an ideal gateway drug to the hard stuff,” Kamp wrote. “Once you got over the weirdness of a cold piece of something-or-other brushed with wasabi and rolled in vinegar-seasoned rice and seaweed, it wasn’t so crazy to try sushi with uncooked scallops or slices of velvety, high-quality tuna.”

But Americans, always on the prowl for a good value, found other reasons to love the California roll: You can cram a lot into an inside-out hand roll, says Kazuhiro “Kaz” Okochi, chef and owner of Kaz Sushi Bistro in Washington. Compared to a traditional maki roll, Okochi says, a California can hold almost twice as many ingredients. “Americans like it,” he said. “No offense, but that’s true.”

Kaz Okochi, chef and owner of Kaz Sushi Bistro

Endless variations on a theme

Soft-shell crab roll. Kobe beef roll. Ham-and-egg roll. Philly cheesesteak roll. Banh mi roll. Even the marzipan roll. These are just a few of the hundreds of fusion rolls that have come into existence since the introduction of the California roll.

“That was the game-changer for the sushi industry in the United States, and pretty much all over the world,” said Okochi, who has been in the business for more than 30 years. If the California roll was once the pioneer of Japanese-American fusion, it’s now the warhorse, the staple required at every strip-mall sushi house in America.

“It’s almost like the hamburger of sushi rolls,” Okochi said.

Gumbo

Few topics are as loaded as a discussion about gumbo in New Orleans. Believed to be based on West African soups, such as Senegal’s soupikandia, gumbo has no clear, indisputable lineage. Historians will tell you that’s because West African slaves, thought to have created gumbo in New Orleans in the 18th century, relied on oral traditions to pass along recipes, leaving behind no evidence of their efforts.

The word “gumbo” is considered a corruption of “tchingombo” and “ochingombo,” a pair of terms that mean “okra” in the Bantu family of languages. The word associations lead some historians to argue that okra is the foundation for gumbo, period. But this narrative is complicated by those who point out that gumbo may have taken its name from the word “kombo,” the Choctaw Nation term for powdered sassafras leaves, another common thickener. Or that French and Cajun cultures have also had a hand in the formulation of this famous soup.

No writer or historian has turned up evidence to suggest the Cajuns, French or Choctaw were the first to prepare gumbo in New Orleans. Yet, each of these groups has left its mark on a soup that, in all likelihood, was lifted from Africa and became one of the city’s most iconic dishes, one flexible enough to absorb the influences of so many cultures.

A staple of West African cooking when the Atlantic slave trade began in the 16th century, okra was forcibly uprooted from its native soil, just like the people who loved it. According to food historian Robert Moss, more than half of New Orleans’s population was African by 1721, and the first known reference to gumbo appeared in a handwritten transcription of a slave interrogation there. That was in 1764, a year before Acadians from Canada began arriving in Louisiana, where their descendants became known as Cajuns.

In his book “Treme: Stories and Recipes from the Heart of New Orleans,” journalist and food historian Lolis Eric Elie mentions an old drawing of Choctaws selling “gumbo” in the market in the 1870s, but the product was just filé powder, another name for the ground sassafras leaves used by Creole cooks to help thicken gumbo. “Even when I was growing up” in New Orleans, Elie told The Washington Post, “people would say, ‘Make okra gumbo in the summer and filé gumbo in the winter when there was no okra to be had.’”

Whether a Cajun or Creole recipe, gumbos are now routinely thickened and flavored, at least in part, with some kind of roux, a mixture of flour and fat that’s browned in a pot. Creoles generally prefer a lighter roux and Cajuns a darker one. While roux is French in origin, “no traditional French chef ever served a roux as dark and rich as the ones his Cajun cousins serve,” Elie wrote in “Treme.”

The Prudhomme Effect

The late Cajun chef Paul Prudhomme had a profound impact on gumbo, one that can still cause agitation among those dedicated to African/Creole traditions. Raised on a farm in the small town of Opelousas in south-central Louisiana, Prudhomme took over the kitchen at the haute-Creole Commander’s Palace in New Orleans in 1975 and quickly reinvented the gumbo there. He used roux to thicken the soup. He added chicken and smoked andouille sausage, drawing on ingredients from his own heritage. His gumbo was “down-and-dirty Cajun,” Prudhomme told the New Orleans Times-Picayune in 2005. “It was what mama used to do.”

When Prudhomme took over Commander’s Palace, he put a Cajun spin on the famous Creole gumbo there, influencing countless chefs in the process.

Left : Chef Paul Prudhomme helped popularize Cajun cooking in the 1970s. (John Dominis/LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

His 1983 recipe for chicken-and-sausage gumbo included not a single pod of okra. It also featured no seafood, and the filé powder was considered optional. Prudhomme’s gumbo, in other words, all but turned its back on Creole traditions.

Prudhomme’s approach, Elie says, has basically become the blueprint for newcomer chefs who pull into New Orleans and want to make their own gumbo. “Which is to say,” Elie told The Post, “that you have a group of very influential and very important chefs whose aesthetic of gumbo is informed from that tradition.”

Lolis Eric Elie, journalist and food historian

Post-Creole and post-Cajun gumbo

Prudhomme died four years ago, but gumbo continues to evolve. The dish has inspired chefs to create new riffs on the soup, such as the Indian-influenced curried seafood gumbo at Saffron Nola in New Orleans. These interpretations may frustrate traditionalists who fear younger chefs have no clue about the African roots of the dish.

But educator and food historian Jessica B. Harris sees the import of gumbo’s ability to accommodate different cultures, much like the country where the soup was created. “That’s the thing for me,” Harris told The Post. “What’s powerful and potent about gumbo is that it does have so many inflections.”

If there’s a common denominator to these dishes, it’s that the people or cultures that first conceived them frequently do not like what they’ve become in America. They shake their heads at the cheapness, the grandiosity or at the ease with which the dish left behind the old world. What the detractors often miss, or ignore, is that these dishes are no longer exclusively Mexican or Italian or African or Japanese. They are American, in all the messy and gorgeous collisions that entails.

Reporting and writing by Tim Carman. Design and production by Shelly Tan. Art direction by Amanda Soto. Photo editing by Jennifer Beeson Gregory. Video direction and editing by Jayne Orenstein. Story editing by Joe Yonan. Design editing by Danielle Rindler. Copy editing by Jim Webster.

Photos by Greg Powers for The Washington Post. Food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post. Prop styling by Limonata Creative.

Spaghetti and meatballs video by James Vavrek for The Washington Post. Queso video by Yesenia Rodriguez for The Washington Post. California roll video by Drea Cornejo/The Washington Post. Gumbo video by Erica Corder for The Washington Post.